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Good morning. The Supreme Court restricts voting in Alabama. Iran and Russia are trying to intervene in the election. And we dig into the gender gap.
It’s not just the public polls. Recent private polls conducted by political campaigns are filled with bad news for President Trump. He is doing eight to 10 percentage points worse in many congressional districts than he did in 2016, Dave Wasserman of The Cook Political Report writes.
His struggles have jeopardized the Republicans’ Senate majority and will probably lead to further Democratic gains in the House. “It would be a pleasant surprise if we only lost 10 House seats,” one Republican member of Congress told The Cook Political Report.
But there is one exception, and it will be familiar to regular readers of this newsletter: Trump and other Republicans don’t seem to be doing worse among Latino voters than in 2016. Nationwide, Republicans are still winning about one-third of the Latino vote, polls show.
As a result, Trump still has a good chance to win both Florida and Texas. Similarly, Senator John Cornyn of Texas continues to lead narrowly in his own re-election race, and House Republicans could hold onto districts in California, Florida and Texas.
Why is Trump holding steady with Latinos? There is no one answer, partly because Latinos are such a diverse group (many of whom also identify as white). But an important part of the explanation appears to involve gender.
Recent Times polls of battleground states show that the gender gap among Latino voters — 26 percentage points — is significantly larger than it is among Black, white or Asian voters:
Among Latina women, Biden leads Trump by a whopping 34 percentage points (59 percent to 25 percent). Among Latino men, Biden’s lead is only eight points (47 percent to 39 percent). These patterns are similar across both Latino college graduates and those without a degree.
Stephanie Valencia, the president of Equis Research, which focuses on Latino voters, told us that its polls suggest that Latino men may have even moved slightly toward Trump this year. If so, they are the only large demographic group to do so.
In effect, gender seems to be outweighing ethnicity for some Latino men.
Race may get more attention, but gender also plays a huge and growing role in politics: The gender gap, which was virtually zero in the 1960s and ’70s, could reach a record high this year. The trend — men moving to the right and women to the left — is occurring in other high-income democracies as well, for a complicated mix of reasons, as Eric Levitz explains in New York magazine.
My colleague Jennifer Medina recently wrote an eye-opening story called “The Macho Appeal of Donald Trump,” focused on Latino men. The whole story is worth reading, but here is a key passage:
… what has alienated so many older, female and suburban voters is a key part of Mr. Trump’s appeal to these men, interviews with dozens of Mexican-American men supporting Mr. Trump shows: To them, the macho allure of Mr. Trump is undeniable. He is forceful, wealthy and, most important, unapologetic. In a world where at any moment someone might be attacked for saying the wrong thing, he says the wrong thing all the time and does not bother with self-flagellation.
The story was set in Arizona — a state that could decide the election.
THE LATEST NEWS
The 2020 Campaign
Iran and Russia have both obtained American voter registration data, and Iran used the information to send threatening, faked emails to voters, U.S. officials said.
The Supreme Court issued another ruling along partisan lines that restricted voting access. The five Republican-appointed justices blocked curbside voting in Alabama; the three Democratic-appointed justices dissented.
At his first in-person campaign rally for Biden, Barack Obama took sharp aim at Trump’s record. “Look, I get that this president wants full credit for the economy he inherited, and zero blame for the pandemic that he ignored,” Obama told supporters in Philadelphia.
Biden and Trump will meet in Nashville tonight for the final presidential debate, moderated by Kristen Welker of NBC News. You can watch it on The Times’s website, with reporters’ analysis.
Daily polling diary: The many polls released yesterday told a clear story, Nate Cohn writes: Joe Biden holds a significant lead, even if it has come down a bit from his post-debate peak.
Lives Lived: J. Michael Lane, an epidemiologist at the C.D.C., waged a 13-year campaign to vanquish the scourge of smallpox, which had ravaged the world for centuries. Lane has died at 84.
Times journalists are reporting on this election from all angles. Our subscribers make this coverage possible. Please consider subscribing today.
IDEA OF THE DAY: The whys of war
It is one of the world’s worst military conflicts right now — fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in which drones, long-range rockets and other weapons have killed dozens of civilians and hundreds of soldiers since late September. I know many readers find the conflict confusing, so here’s a quick explainer:
What are the basics? Armenia and Azerbaijan are both former Soviet republics, east of Turkey and north of Iran. Armenia’s three million residents are mostly Christian; Azerbaijan’s 10 million residents are mostly Muslim.
What are they fighting about? The border region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is officially part of Azerbaijan but populated mostly by Armenians and controlled by Armenian forces since 1994. Azerbaijan is militarily stronger than it was in the 1990s and its leaders would like to reclaim the region.
What set off the current conflict? Both sides blame the other. Armenia claims that Azerbaijan started it by firing at civilians, and Armenia responded by firing at helicopters and drones. Azerbaijan says that Armenia started firing along a swath of land that separates the countries’ forces.
Where do other countries line up? Turkey, a longtime enemy of Armenia, is supporting Azerbaijan. Russia is supporting its military ally Armenia. Experts’ biggest fear is that the conflict widens into a regional war between Russia and Turkey, which are already working against each other in Syria.
For more: Carlotta Gall, The Times’s Istanbul bureau chief, has a new story from Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, where “signs of war fever are not hard to spot.”
PLAY, WATCH, EAT, STREAM
Gaming meets politics
On Tuesday night, more than 400,000 people watched Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez play a video game on the livestreaming platform Twitch. Ocasio-Cortez talked to the audience — one of the largest in Twitch’s history — about the importance of voting, as the screen showed her pink character run around a spaceship in the survival game Among Us.
As The Verge reports, politicians have increasingly turned to gaming platforms to share their message; both Bernie Sanders and President Trump joined Twitch last year. But Ocasio-Cortez’s audience exceeds theirs: She has 647,000 followers after only a few days, compared with Trump’s 143,000 and Sanders’s 160,000.
Unlike other politicians, who have used the platform for conversations, Ocasio-Cortez actually used it for gaming. And she chose an immensely popular game in Among Us. “You’ve got people’s eyes and attention and the game is not too complicated where it’d be distracting to talk about voting,” one 19-year-old student told The Times.
Ocasio-Cortez also has a history of being accessible online. “These sustained efforts allow her recent Twitch stream to seem less like a political stunt and more like another genuine attempt to reach people where they live,” Patricia Hernandez writes in Polygon.
The pangrams from yesterday’s Spelling Bee were domicile, domiciled and melodic. Today’s puzzle is above — or you can play online if you have a Games subscription.